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100 Days Overseas With Coach Ivany: Day 38-40

09/30/2015, 3:45pm CDT
By Max Ivany

Leaving Penang, Malaysia I decided on the recommendation of a friend to take the train to Bangkok. It’s a 22 hour trip but it’s supposed to be scenic and the Malay-Thai Rail System is supposed to be pretty well service oriented with nice sleeper carriages.  The incredible thing is that the fare, including sleeper berth was only $35 US.  Less than the price of a hotel room. I like train travel and have done a number of Amtrak trips over the years. By comparison a similar 22 hour trip from New Orleans, Louisiana-Tucson, Arizona will set you back about $400 if you get a sleeper.  No wonder train travel doesn’t catch on in the USA in a big way.

The train trip went pretty smooth, the only exception being that once dinner was served the first evening (about 5 pm) there was no other food service offered to the end of the line (which didn’t occur until noon the following day). There’s definitely room for improvement there. Once again Thai Immigration was a breeze as we passed from Malaysia into the South of Thailand. Upon arrival in Bangkok, I stepped outside the station, entered the convenient local high speed station and was relaxing in my hotel within the half hour.

After getting a good night’s sleep my mind turned back to the Malaysian doctor who treated me a few days ago.  I decided, better safe than sorry so I began to investigate where to get complete blood work done. I’d been having some issues with circulation in my foot from time to time and figured that info and feedback would be a good thing. Through an Expat forum online it was recommended I go to Bria Labs in Bangkok to get my blood work done.  Here’s the interesting thing. In the USA when you get blood work done it’s in the hands of doctors and insurance companies, in Thailand it BELONGS TO YOU!

I had complete blood work done, including monitoring my liver and kidney functions, STD, testosterone and AIDS tests. The whole kit and caboodle. The young man who took care of everything was a Thai but interestingly enough the company had sent him to Houston, Texas for his training.  I asked him how he liked it.  He said ok, but there was no Thai food readily available so I ate Vietnamese every day.  I guess we all have our preferences.

The amazing thing about this process is that I went by without an appointment, and had given blood/urine samples and within 30 minutes was on my way. By 10AM the next day I received three extensive reports on all tests in my email in box. The cost for this SERVICE, $1410 baht (about $40 US).  Now with MY results in MY possession, I had a choice of who read them. I was lucky enough that a dear friend in San Antonio, TX works in a blood lab and as a favor the doctors read my chart gratis.  Most everything was in order except my cholesterol was a tad high and there were traces of protein in my urine.  All in all a clean bill of health for the Coach.  What a relief.  J